With provincial downloading, infrastructure funding and other commitments, Chatham-Kent councillors were presented with a proposed 4.99 per cent tax hike during Wednesday’s draft budget presentation.
Staff provided a high-level overview of the challenges, which was primarily for information rather than discussion at the table.
Gord Quinton, the municipality’s chief financial officer, admitted it will be a difficult budget, but that it’s critical to invest in infrastructure.
He added “there will be options over the next few weeks” to possibly lower the tax impact.
A 4.99 per cent hike works out to approximately $144 on an average home assessed at $171,000.
The provincial transfer is 1.49 per cent to the property tax while the infrastructure increase is one per cent.
There is also an additional $550,000 for storm sewers and $517,000 for disaster mitigation and adaptation.
Last year’s tax hike was 1.99 per cent. The municipality’s revenue totalled $327 million.
While higher than previous years, the proposed tax hike was to be expected, said Chatham Coun. Brock McGregor, the budget chair.
“That being said, there’s lots of community input to come yet,” he said after the meeting. “There’s the budget deliberations themselves. So we’re going to see that change over time.”
McGregor urged the public to become involved in the budget open houses and offer their feedback.
“This is the first night,” he said. “People need to reach out and let us know if they want services to be maintained, if they want services improved, and how we balance that preservation of services, that investment in infrastructure and affordability.”
Budget committee deliberations are slated for Jan. 28, Jan. 29 and Jan. 30 from 6 pm. to 10 p.m. in council chambers. Tentative sessions are scheduled for Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, if needed.
Written and verbal presentations of up to five minutes are welcome each evening and participants can sign up at the door.
It’s recommended members of the public contact firstname.lastname@example.org in advance if wanting to present.
Deputations on specific topics generating significant community interest will be scheduled and announced prior to the budget committee’s deliberations.
Residents who requires specific accommodations can call 519-360-1998 at least 48 hours in advance to make arrangements.
Comments can also be made by email to email@example.com; by mail to Budget & Performance Services, Municipality of Chatham-Kent, 315 King St. W., PO Box 640, Chatham, Ont., N7M 5K8 or by telephone at 519-360-1998, ext. 3100.
Community budget meetings
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 4:30-6 p.m.
Brunner Centre, 32 Wallace St., Thamesville
Tilbury Arena, Ryder Hall, 49 Bond Ave., Tilbury
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 4:30-6 p.m.
Blenheim High School cafeteria, 163 Chatham St. S., Blenheim
Wallaceburg Municipal Office, 786 Dufferin Ave., Wallaceburg
Thursday, Jan. 23, 4:30-6 p.m.
Active Lifestyle Centre, 20 Merritt Ave., Chatham